Is Automated Transit a Viable Alternative for You?

Rapid developments in automated transportation technology include Automated Rapid Transit (ART) – a fully automated, high-frequency transit service on designated lanes. Note that similar technology is elsewhere described also as Automated Guideway Transit (AGT), Automated People Mover (APM), bus rapid transit (BRT) with automated vehicles, or Personal Rapid Transit (PRT).

ART systems, and their potential benefits, were recently discussed in a ULI article that we co-authored with Calthorpe:

Figure 1: Screen capture of VISSIM operations simulation showing center-running automated transit, with yellow automated taxis (ATs) passing ATs that have stopped to load or unload passengers.

Further Exploration of ART

As an illustration of how we can help, we recently conducted an operational simulation analysis of ART in the proposed conventional Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes in San Francisco. Two ART concepts, a fleet of 20-passenger mini-buses and 4-passenger “personal” rapid transit vehicles, were shown to reduce travel delay by 45-50% and provide a travel time advantage of about 35% over autos and conventional BRT, without sacrificing throughput. The study found that implementing automated vehicle operations in a high intensity US urban BRT corridor can provide high passenger capacities, reduce delays, and improve rider experience, and potentially increase choice ridership and reduce emissions and energy consumption per corridor person trip. Introducing ART lanes in urban corridors offers the opportunity to create a system of high-capacity, high-efficiency transit service throughout a city.

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